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Yes, the Royal Institute has a great web site with a ton of great resources there, including a lot of video footage of various talks and lectures. They are currently featuring the 1977 Christmas Lecture, which that year was given by Carl Sagan on the topic of the Planets. The quality of the copy on the RI website is much better than the one I could embed here, so you should watch the entire thing from that site.

Auroras look amazing when you are gazing up into the night sky, so imagine how they look from space. You don’t have to, actually, because the folks at Science at NASA have put together this little video for us. There should be some great Aurora displays coming up in the next few years, since the sunspot cycle peaks in 2013.

You still have time to finish assembling and charge up your candidate creation for our Future Robot Overlords, and have them ready to show off for National Robotics Week, which runs from April 7th to the 15th. There are special events being held all over, including Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the The National Air and Space Museum in DC, the 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition and the Robot Block Parties being held in multiple cities around the country. I know, I linked to the Robot Block Party being held in San Francisco, because that one is being hosted by Instructables and looks like a lot of fun. There are more events being added every day, for the full list go to Google Calendar.

The Higgs Boson is often referred to as the God Particle for the simple reason that once they find and understand it, it could literally open the universe for us. The first video is Professor Michio Kaku giving a very brief introduction to the concept, and why the discovery is important. They came very close in December, and the actual discovery is expected, or at least hoped for, this year. The second video goes into a bit of additional detail on the concept of the Higgs Boson, which interacts with all but three other particles. Which means the discovery and direct observation of the Higgs could give us the key to the ToE (Theory of Everything) that Einstein spent his last 30 years working on, and pretty much every physicist since has taken a crack at. The key to time travel, FTL travel, as well as access to higher dimensions and parallel universes, this discovery could be the game changer that brings the future alive.

That is the title of this posting from Phil Plait, mister Bad Astronomy himself. I have to mention it here because this is exactly the kind of thing comics (and everything else) need more of; support for science and education in the sciences. How are we ever going to get stellar exploration going if we won’t even go back to the Moon, or get ready to go to Mars? Somebody else will be building the future if we don’t get education in the sciences and math fully funded and supported here.

Online gamers have solved the protein structure of AIDS, doing in 3 weeks what scientists had been trying to accomplish for ten years, according to the Cambridge BlueSci online magazine. That brings scientists a step closer to being able to design an attack vector for the virus and creating a vaccine and cure.

They pulled this off using an online multiplayer game called Foldit, where they attempt to manipulate 3D images of proteins to produce the highest scoring (lowest energy) structure. You are scored by how well you compact the protein, get rid of residues, and avoid spatial clashes. When you complete a puzzle you get a new puzzle as your reward. Human pattern analysis skill sets have yet to be programed into computers (although some projects for that are at the research stage), so this melding of the best skills from humans and computers has a world of potential for solving all kind of medical and organic chemistry problems, which could end up saving a lot of lives. Plus winning a good game is always fun; if you want to play yourself got to the Center for Game Science and download a free copy of the game.